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  1. I stat based on how much action the NPC is going to see. For instance, good old King Michael might not do much other than talk to the PCs, maybe grant them titles or rewards, or ask them for help. He might be a serious mover and shaker in the campaign, but there’s no reason to know more about him than name, physical description, and personality. Maybe a few mental or verbal ticks to make him stand out. But he hardly needs stats, unless I decide he’s going to be involved in a fight with the PCs or beside them.

    On the other hand, an NPC who will travel with the PCs really needs to be stated to the full. As a resource for the players to exploit, I need to know not only their combat abilities, but also their more social skills, their contacts and associations, and also their goals and desires. Companion and follower NPCs get the fullest stating treatment in my games. Second to them are the big boss opponents, who get almost as much statting as the companion NPCs. Combat obstacles need only combat stats, usually, and I assume a certain level of skill in basic survive and culture.

    – Brian

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